People on the Move
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

People on the Move: CEO changes at Bluegrass, Raleigh associations 

Richard Gibbens will take on the top leadership role at Bluegrass Realtors and Imagine MLS; Dave Phillips, CEO of RRAR, announces his departure.

June 21, 2024
3 minutes

Editor's note: As an industry with millions of agents and over 100,000 brokerage companies, new leaders rise to the top every day. Here we highlight executives and other notable leaders who've recently taken on, or stepped away from, roles that influence the residential real estate landscape. 

Kentucky association hires new CEO

Bluegrass Realtors, which serves more than 4,000 subscribers across 38 Kentucky counties, has announced that Richard Gibbens will be taking the helm of the Lexington-based association and Imagine MLS next month.

Richard Gibbens, CEO, Bluegrass Realtors.
Richard Gibbens, CEO, Bluegrass Realtors.

An MLS and association executive for the past seven years, Gibbens was most recently executive director at New Mexico's Southwest MLS (SWMLS), owned by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (GAAR). Prior to SWMLS, Gibbens was MLS director at the Central Panhandle Association of Realtors in Florida. 

While at SWMLS and GAAR, Gibbens was known for leading technology initiatives and driving other innovations — something the Bluegrass leadership would like to replicate as they look to increase the association's visibility within the industry.  

"We are glad to have Richard join us in Kentucky," said Randy Newsome, president of Bluegrass Realtors. "The momentum we have built at Bluegrass Realtors to be on the national stage should continue with Richard as he has built that same platform with his previous organization," Newsome added.

"I am honored to join the incredible team at Bluegrass Realtors and am committed to driving innovation and providing unparalleled value to our membership," said Gibbens. "Together, we will embrace forward-thinking strategies that address our members' needs and enhance their success in the industry."

Longtime association leader to step down at RRAR

Dave Phillips, CEO of North Carolina's Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, announced last week that he would not be renewing his contract in October. 

Dave Phillips, CEO, Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.
Dave Phillips, CEO, Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.

A nearly 35-year veteran of the industry, Phillips took on the top role at RRAR in 2021, but his association leadership experience dates back to 1990, when he began his real estate career as a conference director at Virginia Realtors. He then spent 12 years as CEO of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors followed by six years leading the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. 

In 2016, Phillips left the association world to take a role as VP of industry relationships at before moving to his current position at RRAR. 

In announcing his departure, Phillips did not provide a reason for the decision but said it was made in conjunction with association leadership and remarked that "the last few years have been a great experience." 

"We have accomplished many great things and re-built the staff into an amazing professional team and have a strong foundation that will carry RRAR well into the future," Phillips said.

The association has formed a search committee and is currently working to fill the position once Phillips steps down in the fall.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of SWMLS. It is based in New Mexico.

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